Ok, it's not really. But it sort of is. Basically, I've fallen in love, and here is how it happened.
My significant other and I try to travel as much as we can, and I'm rather obsessed with making sure we've got plenty of awesome images from each holiday to look back on. Carrying my 5D Mark II around has quickly proven to be extremely annoying for the both of us, and I've had to settle for perfecting my iPhonography skills instead (I can practically hear the photographers gasp in horror).
Yes, it's possible to take pretty decent photos on your phone if you know how to use the light to your advantage and how to frame the shot. I think of mobile photography as the go to option for those of us who'd rather selfishly opt for holiday comfort over the money shot of a deadly leopard chasing a terrified gazelle towards a cliff with a waterfall and some airborne flamingos in the background.
Thus, I've made my peace with the iPhone being my travel cam, and tried to ignore the dark, depth-of-field-shaped hole in my heart. But then, just in time for the next trip, I got my hands on an iPhone 7 Plus. Like pure magic, its dual lens 12MP cam does its very best to simulate the gorgeous SLR-esque blurry background effect in the all new 'Portrait' mode. And while the pros of the pros are screaming about how shite iPhone's replica bokeh is all over the forums, I keep staring at my holiday shots in awe and disbelief.
I know a revolution when I see one.
Before you throw your brick of a DSLR right out of the window and run through a field of daisies in happy contemplation of your new life, there are a couple of things to remember.
- This is a good day-to-day alternative, NOT a replacement.
- iPhone's camera resolution is significantly lower than an average DSLR's, so expecting to see no noise, no pixelation, no quality loss on zoom is... well, just silly. So don't be silly. Don't do it.
- Comparing an iPhone camera to a DSLR is like comparing a cup of Italian hand-brewed espresso with the cafetiere coffee Susan from work whipped up. While the espresso is the expected winner, Susan's coffee can also be quite delicious, and even preferred by some. They are two different things, so let's not waste precious time explaining why one is better than the other in excruciating detail.
Long story short, if you don't zoom in and examine the photos in detail, you might never know why anyone on earth would disagree that this is a complete mobile photography break through.
There is this THING, though...
It occurs in some instances, and it's annoying.
In some cases, the two poor lenses just don't agree on where the background ends and the subject begins, resulting in some clear pixel confusion around the edges of said subject. I picture the lenses having a heated little argument behind the scenes:
Lens 1: 'FFS Jeff, that's the edge of his glove!'
Lens 2: 'Listen, Janet, I think I'm the one with the experience here...'
Is this unfortunate, sad, frustrating and unacceptable? Sure. But does it absolutely have to be this way? Hell no. There are a number of factors that maximise this 'fake depth-of-field' effect, and if you pay attention when shooting, it can be avoided 99% of the time.
AVOID THE HORROR
- Shoot against a plain(-ish) background
- The more distance between the background and the subject - the better.
- Hold the iPhone firm and still.
- Get your subject to strike a pose and HOLD IT. No moving.
The photo above was taken under some questionable circumstances, which involved me half lying down on the ground while wearing my skis, and my subject unexpectedly channelling his inner Hussain Bolt in one brief fluid motion.
100% zoom of the same person, but motionless and shot against a plainer backdrop, will show you what happens when the two lenses dance in coordinated tandem.
And if that wasn't convincing enough, here is a crop of my blond brother's mysterious ginger beard as further concrete evidence. Shot against a rather busy backdrop of people, he was sitting quite still, and I held that iPhone like my life depended on it.
I love this so much! [insert twelve heart-eyed emojis here]
The constant evolution of technology is allowing things to be smaller and lighter while continuously fighting to retain the awesome. If you are going to try and tell me that isn't insanely cool, then you and I are simply living in different time zones.
I'm excited to be in 2020, while you are holding on to 2010. And my iPhone-7-Plus-depth-of-field-Portrait-mode dog completely agrees with me.